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Broken Authentication


Broken authentication is #2 on the latest (2017) OWASP Top 10 list. Broken authentication is typically caused by poorly implemented authentication and session management functions. Broken authentication attacks aim to take over one or more accounts giving the attacker the same privileges as the attacked user. Authentication is “broken” when attackers are able to compromise passwords, keys or session tokens, user account information, and other details to assume user identities.

Due to poor design and implementation of identity and access controls, the prevalence of broken authentication is widespread. Common risk factors include:

  • Predictable login credentials
  • User authentication credentials that are not protected when stored
  • Session IDs exposed in the URL (e.g., URL rewriting)
  • Session IDs vulnerable to session fixation attacks
  • Session value that does not time out or get invalidated after logout
  • Session IDs that are not rotated after successful login
  • Passwords, session IDs, and other credentials sent over unencrypted connections


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